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Can Chain Restaurants Help Predict Election Outcomes?

Live near a Ben & Jerry's? You're probably a Democrat.


Turns out, the chain restaurants you live near can pretty accurately predict the political leanings of your district. A nifty new chart from research company AggData and Time magazine plotted two million store locations from over 2,700 brands by their congressional district, and then tallied them by each district's vote in the 2014 midterms. The results are fascinating.

While there's no proof that eating scoops of Chunky Monkey causes a person to vote Democrat, two-thirds of the Ben & Jerry's locations in the United States are found in a Democratic district. Same goes for 7-Eleven locations: Nearly 60 percent of all stores are found in Democratic districts. Other restaurants and chains that are more commonly found in areas with Democratic leanings: Dunkin' Donuts, Safeway, Trader Joe's, and Chipotle.

On the other hand, it's much easier to find breakfast spots like Waffle House and Cracker Barrel in Republican districts. Plus, over three quarters of all Arby's stores are found in Republican leaning districts, as are 70 percent of all Pizza Hut locations. Republican districts are good places to find fried chicken — at chains like Chick-fil-A and KFC — as well. However, when it comes to the Pumpkin Spice Latte-slinging chain Starbucks, the locations are split almost down the middle (with a very slight Democratic leaning). Looks like coffee is bi-partisan after all.

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